kareina: (Default)
This morning I was motivated to start a new modern sewing project. I think I mentioned some time back that I had finally gotten around to cutting open the front of a modern sweater and putting in a zipper as it was a great weight for a summer/autumn jacket, but that it was still too big, and I ought to alter it. Today I finally did. It was another of those stupid modern shirts where the arms are not designed to be raised, and it was too big around for me, which meant that the sleeves hung just a bit too long. So I marked where the edge of my shoulders hit the sweater and cut straight down from there, giving me a central body rectangle (with a zipper in it for the front part). Then I cut the sleeves off of the bit that had been between them and the body rectangle. Then I cut the bottom of that bit into a triangle which I sewed to the body rectangles as gores from hips to waist, and the part that was left I sewed the straight bits together (that had been next to the body rectangle before being cut off), then trimmed the other edges to make that part a more symmetrical diamond shape, which I sewed in as under-arm gores that fill in the arm pit where the sleeves used to have a weird curved attachment to the body, making it hard to raise one's arms, and extending down from there to the waist. Actually, it was long enough to go past the waist, so I opted to leave both sets of gores as long as they could be, and they go past one other at the waist. The result is quite comfortable. This all took 6.6 hours of my day, not counting various food breaks.

When I was done I re-arranged the office furniture, which makes me happy. I love re-arranging furniture. However, David may not be so pleased, since he wasn't here to discuss my plans and had no input. However, he and Caroline dropped by today so he could work on a project in the shop and she could get some more things to take to the apartment, and even though they were here a couple of hours, he didn't make time to talk with me. I asked him to join me when I sat down to eat during a sewing break, but he didn't want any of the apple-nectarine cobbler I had baked*, so I suggested he sit down and talk with me while he ate, but he wandered off to do something else instead, so I returned to my sewing, and a short bit later they shouted from the door that they were leaving. If he didn't want to make time to talk, then he had better not be bothered when he notices I moved his desk without asking first. (I am fairly certain he will be ok with it.)

Tomorrow I hope to pick more berries, even if it is still raining (it has been since yesterday), but it all depends on how healthy I am feeling. I haven't gotten any sicker, but I still have that hint of soreness in my throat if I swallow. I also have another issue I have forgotten to mention--my left index finger has kinda swollen and hurting at the base if I try to do anything with it since Thursday evening, and I have no idea why. I didn't bump it, it has no cuts to be infected, I wasn't even doing anything that used it that evening--I was at the computer, but mostly reading instead of typing. Oh well, if it is still bothering me on Wednesday when I see my physical therapist I can ask about that, too.

*I had thought to make a fruit salad, but the nectarines were so insipid that I figured the only way to make them palatable was to bake them with the tart apples, a bit of sugar, and a topping of oats, walnuts, butter, yoghurt, and more sugar. No, UI didn't make it sweet, but I figured it needed a little to do something about the poor nectarines, who were picked before their time and sent who knows how far around the world to languish in the fridge till I noticed we had them. It worked, they were much tastier after baking and adding other yummy stuff to them.
kareina: (Default)
Still feeling not entirely healthy, though also not really showing much in the way of symptoms, either (slight hint of discomfort in my throat if I swallow, but other than that nothing). With luck I will just get over it without ever feeling worse, but to be certain, I have taken it easy today.

Project #1 was making a template for decorating my hammer dulcimer. I think I have mentioned before that in an attempt to learn to read music I am trying to colour-code it (A=red, B=purple, C=blue, D=green, E=yellow, F=orange, G=brown). At first I was doing the colouring of the music in a drawing program, but it turns out that the uni printers are calibrated way too differently from my monitor, so that the colours which are easy to distinguish on the screen are hard to tell apart when printed (especially the brown-purple-blue-green and the red-orange). Therefore I have given up on that and am instead just using colour pencils to write on printouts of the sheet music. I had had little coloured dots, printed from the computer, that I glued down to the bridges of the dulcimer, but the quality of glue stick is variable, and some dots were coming off, and see above about the difficulties in telling the colours apart. I could mostly manage anyway, since I know the sequence, so the one just above the yellow has to be the orange, but that sequence of several in a row that look nearly the same makes it harder.

Therefore I have decided to invest in some paint and do decorative little swirly bits on the bridges in the colours, and, while I am at it, make the ones that are sharp or flat look different from the ones that are natural. The first step was to order the paint. The other day I checked the Swedish art supply store that David orders from, and noticed they had some sets of acrylic paint, but none of them seemed to contain all of the colours I needed. Therefore I sent them an email explaining what I wanted, and why it was important to be able to tell the colours apart, and could they recommend to me which sets and/or individual colours I should order? I wrote in English, but included a sentence in Swedish at the end saying they were welcome to reply in Swedish if they like, as I have no problems reading it. Not much more than 24 hours later I got a reply, in English (the writer confessed that it is his native language) stating that since none of their sets actually contains purple, I would be better off ordering individual colours, and he gave me the list of product numbers to get the full set I need. As soon as I placed my order I also filled in their contact form thanking them for awesome customer service, and naming the guy who had written.

Since the paint has been ordered, it was time to decide exactly what I will be doing with the paint, so opened up an old drawing of my dulcimer, with strings labeled as to which is which, and added a new layer to actually draw the bridges (which I measured). Then I added another layer to design the swirly bits to paint onto the bridges, and coloured them on screen to see how it would look. I decided to go with making the sharps and flats have only a thin line connecting the top and bottom swirls, but the naturals have a wide bit in the middle, too. Easy to tell them apart, but not distracting, either.

Then I printed a black and white version of the bridges and swirls, coloured them in with my coloured pencils (which I can easily tell apart), and tried sliding them under the strings and onto the bridges. It turns out that my spacing of the bridges wasn't quite right, so I needed to print and colour a couple of times before I managed to have a perfectly sized strip to label the strings (I also had to scrape away the remaining old glued on dots). I have tried playing from sheet music with these swirls under the strings, and it works. It will look much better when I have replaced that paper with the painted swirls, though I am not looking forward to having to loosen all of the strings enough to push them off of the bridges to do the painting and then tightening them again to the correct note. I will need to do them only a few at a time, I think.

Once that was done I spent an hour curled up on the couch reading, took a nap, read some more, and then was inspired to do a long-procrastinated project. Back in about 1989 or so my then-boyfriend, George, had a pair of wool dress trouser that he didn't want any more (shrunk in the wash? wearing out? tired of them? I don't recall why, but he gave them to me). They were much too big in the waist (even in those days, when I was much chubbier than I am today), but with a safety pin to hold them on they did just fine as a layer over silk or wool tights for cross country skiing. I have used them for many years, and over time the fabric in the crotch wore thin and then gone. At some point, years ago, I kinda patched them from the inside with scraps of some other wool, but that wasn't working so well anymore, since the holes had grown. They got stuck into the mending closet some unknown amount of time back, and largely forgotten.

Till late this summer, when I wanted something to wear on my legs while working outside on a cool, rainy day. Then I remembered them, checked my clothes cupboard and couldn't find them, checked the mending cupboard, and there they were. Still too big, still with holes in the crotch, but over wool tights they were just fine for working outside in not so nice weather. This time as I overlapped the waist huge amounts before pinning them on it occurred to me that it might be possible to cut away fabric from the inside of the thighs to get rid of the holes and take them in to actually fit.

Today I remembered that, and thought I would give it a try. Sure enough, looking closely at the legs, the damage was concentrated in the crotch such that a straight line up the back of the leg, from the ankel to the waist would just miss the damaged area, and the part below the holes, but between that line and the original inner leg seam looked wide enough to make some triangle gores for the crotch. So I gave it a try, and three hours later I have a pair of trousers that fit. I might have liked the thighs to be a little looser, but that wasn't possible given the fabric I was starting with, and they aren't exactly tight. Much to my delight I was able to do the entire project on the treadle sewing machine. I had expected that I wouldn't be able to do the second pass of the flat-fled seams on the legs, but I managed it.

Thinking that I couldn't do the finishing of the legs, I decided to try part of it anyway, to reduce the amount of hand-sewing that would be needed, so I first finished the back seam from the waist to the crotch (I didn't do anything to the front seam--it still has the original zipper), then sewed shut both legs, the opened it up and, starting from mid-upper thigh, started finishing that flat-felled seam, expecting that I would be able to manage from there, across the crotch, and down to about the same spot on the other leg.

However when I reached that point I realized that I could managed to crumple up the fabric behind the sewing machine foot and smooth out the fabric in the path of the seam and do another couple of cm more. Then I realized I could smooth out the next 2 cm, and so on, right down to the ankel. Since that worked, I returned to the other leg, and gave it a try from the ankel up, and sure enough managed to smooth out and fold under about 2 cm of seam at a time till I reached the part that I had already done. This won't be at all surprising to those of you who sew by machine regularly, but for so many years I sewed only Medieval costumes, and then only by hand, so I didn't think I would manage.

Now it is 22:25, so I should go to my yoga, take another hot shower, and get some sleep.
kareina: (Default)
Last night I tried sewing a single garnet bead in the center of a square on the beautiful 3-in-1 wool twill fabric. Today I decided that I hadn't managed to get it perfectly centered, and that the only way to do that would be to baste diagonal lines from point to point on all the squares, and while I was at it, around the outline of the neck facing.

Luckily for me, today at work my Master's student wanted to try driving the laser for this, her final lab session of her project, so I got to spend several hours basting lines while she did all the data collecting, and I only needed to remind her which task needed to happen when, and how.

lines basted

close up

Now the neckline is ready for beads (which will be *much* easier to center in those squares now that there is an X to mark the spot), and, while I am at it, some red embroidery around the beads, since I have remembered some lovely wool yarn that is the same colour as the garnets. I have also done the math and worked out that I have exactly enough of the white to edge the sleeves, hem and neck of the tunic I want to do. Looking forward to making progress on this project while on the Norway trip this weekend. There is enough embroidery and beading to do that I need bring only the white fabric, yarn, and beads. The blue can stay home and wait till the trim is ready to attach.

Now to finish packing, do my yoga, get a shower, and then leave for the bus in 7.5 hours. Plenty of time...
kareina: (Default)
Last year at Visby's Medieval week I bought a little of a beautiful three-twills-in-one white wool fabric, and a bit more of a lovely dark blue (single) twill wool, intending to combine them into a new tunic. At the time I thought they might look nice with some garnet beads I was given by a good friend last time I was in Tassie.

Earlier this evening I was wondering what project I should take with me when I head to Norway this weekend, since the drive will be something like 8 to 10 hours. I am nearly done with the lovely linen white herringbone twill underdress I have been working on, and since it is nearly complete, it takes a fair bit of room, so it might not be the best choice for a bus project. But the wool twill tunic would be smaller...

So, starting around 20:15 I got out the fabric, ironed, it and begin looking at where on the fabric one could set the neck facing pattern so that the 3-in-1 pattern is shown off to best advantage. Nearly three hours after taking the fabric out, I now have a basted lines showing where the neck will be cut, and the lines where it will be folded under, and I have stitched a single bead down, to see if I like how it looks:

garnet on wool


Right now I am thinking of setting only one bead in the center of each of the fish-bone twill squares, so that the diamond twill squares are surrounded by little red dots. But if I want my yoga done before midnight and to get some sleep before meeting my Master's student at the laser tomorrow morning, I had better get put this down for the night, and take a look with fresh eyes in the morning. In reality sewing down the beads is a stupid thing to do on the bus, but, perhaps it might be possible to get the neck beaded tomorrow, and then sew that part to the tunic on the bus? Just how much cutting and beading can I accomplish after work tomorrow, in addition to packing for the trip? Stay tuned...
kareina: (mask)
...sometimes they take time.

For a year or so now (perhaps longer), every time we would get ready to go to a party in modern clothing I would look through the closet, and realize, once again, that I don't really own any shirts that are "dressy". Of course I only ever thought of this as we were getting ready, so there wasn't anything I could do about it, and would make do with what I have. (Luckily, parties for which the expected clothing is modern don't come up all that often, and my informal clothing is generally kinda cute.)

However, we actually thought about what to wear this weekend when we head down for H & K's wedding enough time in advance that I could actually do something about it. I already posted pictures of the new embroidered apron and pocket I made for my folk dance costume (and if you missed the photo of me wearing it, you can go look here). But the festivities associated with the wedding will go on all weekend, and I also wanted something else to wear for Friday evening.

Therefore I did that thing I avoid doing. I went shopping. Many thanks to C. who did the research in advance to figure out where the stores are in Luleå that *might* have something pretty in a fibre I would wear, and where they are located. We found a black button up Merino Wool sweater at one of the first stores we checked, which I purchased (despite having plenty of black sweaters, since the others are either cotton, or, in one case, a heavy wool-cotton blend).

The rest of the stores managed to convince me that my taste in colour is fashionable just now. Tons of things in lovely shades of dark blue. Plenty of really pretty maroon. Sadly, synthetic fabrics are also in, and I am just not willing to go there. There isn't a store in town high end enough to carry linen, silk, or wool as their main items. However, at about store five or six we found some cotton shirts in a lovely dark blue fabric with an interesting stripy weave.

However, those shirts had some flaws:

*3/4 length sleeves of the kind that are meant to be rolled up and buttoned above the elbow, meaning too bulky to put a sweater on over them, but not warm enough for the forearms on a cool day.
*said sleeves were attached in such a way that the only comfortable position for one's arms while wearing the shirt is down by one's side. Any attempt to raise one's arms would result in all of the fabric on the side of the shirt raising till one's tummy was exposed to cool air.
*the shirt body was both (mostly) straight cut and wide, so that even the ones which are supposedly small enough to fit me were still quite loose and not at all flattering.
*the front was pleated to just under the breast, causing the stomach of the shirt to protrude in a very pregnant manner.

However, neither of us felt for checking yet more stores, we had already been out for more than an hour. Therefore we decided to buy one about four or five sizes too big, so that I could take it in, but use the extra bit removed from the sides to fix the sleeves.

Therefore I have:

*extended the pleating down to the waist
*cut off the sleeves
*taken in the original sleeves so that they actually fit my fore-arm
*chopped off the top of the original sleeves so that they are now straight cut just above my elbow.
*attached the strips of fabric cut off of the sleeves to that edge just above the elbow, such that the stripes of the narrow strip goes around my arm (perpendicular to the stripes going up the forearm)
*pinned the side seams of the body to a comfortable, flattering fit
*cut off the excess fabric from the sides
*cut each of those strips in half to make upper arms for the sleeves
*sewed shut the sides of the shirt from bottom of the arm hole to the waist
*hemmed side slits from waist to hips
*cut square underarm gores from the curved part that used to be the top of the upper arms
*attached the underarm gores to the bottom of the original arm pit holes, thus reducing their size to better actually fit my arms

and (for arm #1):
*cut off the horrid serged seams in those upper arm strips and sewed the pieces back together with flat-felled seams
*sewed the sets of pieces together for the upper arms
*sewed the upper arms to the arm hole, pleating the top of the shirt in slightly at the back of the shoulder to further reduce the size to match the amount of fabric that was available for making the upper arms which are comprised of five pieces, four from the sides of the shirt, and the fifth a triangle from what was left of the forearm sleeve scrap, all of which have their stripes more or less running parallel with my arm, but none of which have their stripes quite parallel with one another due to the way the shirt had been made(see the word "mostly" modifying the phrase "straight cut" above).
*pinned the upper arm to the forearm to determine it would work.

At that point I decided that I needed a break and stopped to do yoga and, now that that is done type this. Next I will return to sewing. I just need to finish the first sleeve and then repeat those steps for the next sleeve and I will be done. So far it is over 8 hours of sewing, so I can't imagine that the full project will take less than 10.

The good news is that the new arms are so comfortable--with that square underarm gore I can lift my arm fully over head without the fabric of the body moving anywhere at all. I will never understand why modern clothing manufactures want to use those horrid curved top sleeves that don't actually permit movement. I have seen sleeves with curved shoulders that are designed to move one's arms, are they really that much harder to do than the ones this shirt came with?

In other news, I have been doing yoga with an interval timer fairly often recently. Today I set the timer to do 100 sets of 45 seconds each, figuring that number would be big enough that I wouldn't run out of timer before I had done all of the yoga poses I felt for. I did, however, use up enough of those 45 seconds-es that I did a full 57 minutes of yoga! One day not too long back I set the timer for 80 sets of 1 minute each, and managed more than an hour. Other days it has "only" been 35 minutes, but even so it is better than the 12 or 20 minutes I manage on a night I am sleepy and don't set a timer.

But it is time to close this and see if I can finish the machine sewing (using the treadle machine, of course, since we fixed it, and I like it ever so much better than electric) tonight. I can finish the hand-finishing of the seams on the fore-arms in the car tomorrow (my arms are narrow enough that it isn't worth doing the second pass of a flat-felled seam by machine--it might be possible, but it wouldn't be pleasant).

K & H said that their doors open to guest tomorrow at 14:00. It is pretty much four hours from our place to theirs. Therefore, so long as we are on the road sometime between 10:00 and 13:00 we should be there at a reasonable time.
kareina: (house)
We finally have enough snow out there to really feel like it is winter, and the world is every so much more beautiful! The year started with temperatures above freezing, but while that did lots of damage to the snow down in Umeå, where we spent New Year's, up here it only got crusty, and since then we have had lots of good weather and fresh snow, and I am much happier. The weather service says that it should continue to be mostly good for the next nine days (though it will warm up to zero on Friday), so with luck we will actually have a proper winter.

I am looking forward to my trip to Australia in February, it will be good to see people, and to get all that training for work, but I am sad to miss out on nearly three weeks of winter as a result. Why couldn't that conference been scheduled for just a bit later in the year--no one wants to see "spring" in northern Sweden--the couple of weeks when it all melts is icky, and I would be happy to be gone then.

I have been making good progress on my bliuat in progress--the slevees are done and ready to attach to the body rectangle. The neck is done and is attached to the body rectangle. The inset gores are nearly all done (two more seams there), and the first of the seven-triangle side gores has five of its pieces assembled. All I still need to do is attach the last few pieces, adjust the sides to the right size and sew on the lacing, and sew the trim to the bottom hem. No idea if this is possible before I fly to Tassie, but it is worth trying for that goal, since they have an SCA event my first weekend there.
kareina: (stitched)
I got a comment to my recent lj postwith links to photos of my bliaut in progress, wherein I mentioned that each sleeve is made up of ten pieces of fabric, which asked: "Why so many pieces - is that the period example, or did you have small bits of fabric?"

This is a good question, and one that deserves its own post, so I am replying here instead of there.

In part it was because the first bliaut I made myself was made from a very narrow and not that long piece of fabric, so to make the most of it I first cut the fabric in half lengthwise, which gave me two pieces exactly as wide as my shoulder, from which I cut off my body rectangle and then turned the rest into the sleeves and skirt gores. In order to have enough fabric for everything I chose to do the inset skirt gores only as high as the tops of my thighs, while the side gores went all the way to my waist, and that left just enough to do a large square for the bottom of the sleeve, the main sleeve rectangles, and two more small rectangles, which I cut into three triangles and set into a slit in the sleeve rectangle, to make the sleeves as wide as I could make them.

The effect I was going for with the sleeves is what is seen in this period illustration of St. George and the Dragon, and to my eye I managed to pull that off, but I can't find any photos of me in that dress with my arms in quite that position.

I didn't have any extant examples of a bliaut I was working from, but just used the period mind set cutting logic of combining rectangles and triangles to make the fabric fit with as little wasting of fabric as possible. That was the first project I had done using such narrow skirt gores, and I was really, really, really happy with the result, since cutting them so narrow gave a few nice side effects, the most important two of which are A) the fact that the slight curve cut from the bottom to make the hem line smooth meant that my only scrap fabric for the dress was a bunch of little bits about 1.5 cm wide and 15 cm long and B) the fact that the bottom hem never deviates much from the grain of the fabric, so it doesn't tend to sag, which means that the curve I cut for the hem before sewing the fabric together was the same curve that I hemmed when the dress was done, and the hem is still as even today as it was when I made it, more than six years ago. Likewise, the tiny triangles that went into the sleeve gore gave similar benefits for the sleeve.

Therefore, since I was so happy with how that one came out, when I made my second one, from a much larger piece of fabric I made only two changes: I used much longer body rectangles, to try for the tummy wrinkles that show up in some statues from the time, and I made a larger square gore for the sleeve bottom.

However, bigger is better, when it comes to 12th century sleeves, and many of the statues show much longer sleeves for women, so I decided to adapt the exact same logic for my third try, which is still in progress (page through the album to see other photos). This time, instead of attaching the large square to the bottom of the sleeve rectangle directly I put a set of three triangle gores in between the large square and the sleeve rectangle on each side, and a set of two triangle gores into the slit in the mid point of the rectangle. (Note: the diagram in that album showing how the pieces come together is wrong--it shows fewer sleeve triangle gores than actually exist.) As a result that gets the project up to 10 pieces per sleeve.

Could I have done it using fewer pieces? Of course. However, if I had opted to, for example, cut the triangle gores as a single large triangle instead of assembling them from sets of three narrower ones, that would have created larger pieces of scrap cut off the curve at the bottom of the triangles (yet still not large enough to be useful), and it may well have changed how they drape, since a significant portion of those triangles would be free to stretch on the bias.

So, do I know for certain that they did it this way? Nope. Is it plausible given what I know about period fabric cutting techniques? Yup. Will I use this approach again? Probably, I really like the result.
kareina: (stitched)
I already mentioned that I was up late at the SCA event on the weekend because I was having so much fun. Well, that pattern has continued into the week, too--I haven't made it to bed before 01:00 all week, but am still getting up early enough to do the 45 minute walk to work in the morning. Mind you, I am not arriving at the office at 07:00 or 07:15 as I often do, but instead more like 07:30 or 07:45, but I am still the first one in my corridor. However, I have still be going home at 11:00 or 12:00 when [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar goes home for lunch, so I may want to work a few hours on Friday to make up for it.

So far this work week has been spent researching travel and accommodation for the conference in Australia in February, reading my student's thesis drafts, and compiling information as to what standards are available, from where, and for how much, so that we can decide which ones to get now, to have ready when the Laser Ablation-ICP-MS arrives, and which ones we will wait on till the lab is generating a bit of income from fees paid by the users. (It is farily obvious that if the department doesn't have the budget to cover a full time salary for me, they don't have a huge budget for buying standards, either. (not that it is broke or anything, just that, like at most unis, the cash available in the department is mostly tied to specific research grants, and can't be used for things not directly related to those projects)).

At home I have been focusing on projects. I want a new bliaut--my first one is getting worn out. We have some lovely dark blue silk that I want to use, and have been wondering if I want to do it with or without the tummy gathers that was fashionable in the 12th century. I haven't been all that happy with the gathers on brown wool bliaut, but that has more to do with the fact that they don't always sit right, and often need adjusting. Somehow I don't think I would have that problem with the lighter weight silk. However, another issue with the brown is that the skirt is heavy enough that even though when I first lace the dress the hem is all one length and up off the ground, over the course of the day it droops on the sides and people start to step on it while I am dancing, which isn't an issue with the older blue bliaut, since it is only just long enough for me, even unlaced (the brown is longer than I am tall when it is unlaced).

But what has really and truly decided me on skipping the gathering this time around was the hours I have spent doing two different cutting diagrams--one if I make it extra long and gather it up, and the other if I don't. The latter option lets me get another set of skirt gores out of the fabric, transforming the skirt from just under 3/4 circle to just about a full circle skirt. Can you say "dancing skirt"? I apologize to people who care about 12 Century fashion and think that this style is better with the tummy gathers--I am going to go for the fuller skirt instead...
kareina: (me)
I have done a variety of short posts here in the week since returning from my Lofoten adventure to visit [livejournal.com profile] northernotter, but I haven't made the time to record the highlights of that trip, so I will now see how much I can remember...

The adventure begun on Wednesday, 28 Aug, when I was really, really feeling the lack of mountains locally, and wanting to see some. So I asked [livejournal.com profile] northernotter in FB chat if she would be home that weekend, and she said she would and I was welcome to come on up. Since the next day was the local SCA social/arts night here (and the first one of the season now that summer is over), I decided I could stay home one more day, and I bought my train tickets for Friday morning.

My train departed at 05:53 and took me as far as Narvik, on the Norwegian coast. Well into the Swedish mountains we were boarded by a fairly large group of school children (I guess in the 12 to 15 year old age range) who were speaking something that sounded German to my ear. They stayed on the train till the next stop, and were every bit as noisy the whole time as one might expect. As the train was pulling into the station one of their accompanying adults looked at me and said "now you will get some peace and quiet". I smiled and asked "school trip?", and he replied "yes, 8 days hiking in the mountains", and he looked totally exhausted as he said it. I commented "That sounds delightful for them, but rather hard on the adults", and he nodded, and picked up the headset that one of the kids had left behind and he followed them off the train.

We arrived in Narvik a bit before 15:00, and the bus to Lofoten departed at 15:30. The bus was rather full, so I wound up sitting in the very back, in the middle seat, which meant I could easily look out both windows. The bus arrived in Svolvær around 20:00, and [livejournal.com profile] northernotter and I drove to her place, which is in a village not to far from there.

She has a fabulous view! There is a beautiful mountain peak framed by her kitchen window, and more mountains on every side (though on one side one can't see the mountains for the small ridge behind the house). So wonderful to live in a world framed by "up" again, even if only for a few days.

I, of course, wasn't hungry when I got in, it being evening, but she cooked up a yummy smelling dinner for her family, which made more than enough for left overs to take with us for lunch the next day, when I discovered that it was every bit as tasty as it had smelled the night before.

I enjoyed the chance to meet the rest of her family. Her son had come along to the Medieval days here, so I had met him before, but he was noticeably more sociable and talkative at home than he had been at his first SCA event, and I rather liked him. Her daughter is a total delight, and she was also kind enough to give up her bed for me to sleep in (she took an air mattress the first night, the couch the second, and the third night, since her brother was gone, she took his room). I also enjoyed her husband's company, and even the dog is well behaved and pleasant to be around, so the social interaction part of the adventure was a win on all fronts.

But that was just a bonus, because, lets face it, the reason one goes to Lofoten is to see the mountains and fjords, and I couldn't have picked a better weekend to do that. The temperatures were comfortable--neither too warm nor too cold, the sun was out and the sky was blue.

Saturday morning [livejournal.com profile] northernotter, I, and her dog, went out for our first adventure. We drove down to the SW corner of her island, parked the car, and set off looking for a trail she had never tried before, but was mentioned in her guidebook. The first part was easy—along the rocks by the coast and past the summer cottage belonging to someone (what a stunning place for a summer cottage). Then there appeared to be something resembling a trail a bit further up the hill, and we opted to go that way, but soon we were just walking between the trees and the juniper bushes, working our way up the hill a bit, and a bit further to the northwest, parallel with the coast and the mountain ridge above us. Eventually the going started getting quite a bit steeper, and we got high enough that we could see a trail, way down below us, near the coastline. At this point we needed to use our hands a lot, and wondered if we were going a useful direction.

Therefore I went on a bit ahead, past some harder bits that were still within my skill level for free climbing (even though I haven't done any climbing since last November, when I visited [livejournal.com profile] linda_linsefors in Grenoble) to see if it looked like it was getting easier, or if it lead anyplace useful. I got to a nice, flatter area of easy going, but I couldn't tell if it was going to lead anywhere useful, and from there it wasn't possible to see [livejournal.com profile] northernotter anymore, so I opted to head back down to where she was.

Did I say that those "harder bits" were still within my skill level? Make that "just barely within my skill level for down climbing", though they hadn't seemed that hard going up. I paused often to consider my next move on the decent back down to her. As I got back into sight I discovered that her dog, which is on the smallish side (though not so small as to be one of those little yappy dogs), had gotten ahead of her by a good 6 to 10 meters, but was now stuck—the poor thing was looking back down hill, but so not willing to take the jump from the rock she was on to the ground below it, and I can't say as I blame her—the drop was only about three times her height, but the landing spot was small and sloped.

So [livejournal.com profile] northernotter told her to "wait" (a skill they worked on lots when she was a puppy), and I worked my way down to, and then just below her, then lifted her down to where I was standing, and worked my way a bit lower, and then lowered her again, repeating the process till we were back down to where [livejournal.com profile] northernotter was standing, and the going was, once again, easy enough for a smallish dog to proceed on her own four feet.

Since that path up the hill had been pronounced a dead end (thought I will never know if I could have found a way to continue if I had gone on) we worked our way back down the hill, found the trail we had seen from above, and tried to follow it. Only to lose it again. How does a trail that is so clear one minute become so invisible the next? It is like people (or animals?) walk on that short stretch of path, and then switch to only walking on rocks. We never did find a way to get to the valley between the ridge we had gone part way up, and the next ridge, and by then we were wondering if the trail we had seen on the floor of that valley is actually the one mentioned in the guide book.

By then a couple of hours had elapsed, so we decided to head back to the car, this time working our way along the rocky coastline, admiring the pretty deformation in the lovely metamorphic rocks. I was delighted to note a huge difference in my confidence level and balance for the return trip as compared to how it felt walking along the rocks along the coast on our way in. There is nothing like challenging oneself with the more serious climbing to make the easier stuff feel, well, easy! I could, once again, hop over small chasms without flinching, and given the choice between an easy way and a fun way, I was choosing the fun paths.

After that walk we drove completely around the small island just to the northwest of her island, and admired the incredible views before driving back to town to get groceries and then to the house.

That night they served salted cod for dinner. This is not to be confused with salt cod. The former is made from fresh (or frozen and thawed) fish which is covered with a little coarse salt over night before being cooked in a pot on the stove, while the latter is a method of preserving and drying fish to keep for ages without refrigeration (and is one of the reasons that Lofoten was responsible for the generation of a hugely high percentage of Norway's wealth in the middle ages). I was slightly hesitant to try the cod, since I have never liked fish, but, since I couldn't detect any unpleasant smells wafting across the table (as I usually do when others are eating fish), I decided to be brave, and took a bite. It wasn't unpleasant, so I even took a couple of more bites. I didn't eat enough to make any noticeable difference to the amount of fish available for the meal (which was served with carrots in a white sauce and potatoes with butter (churned from cream which had been let to sour a bit first), but it was enough to claim I have eaten fish.

On Sunday we enjoyed a lazy morning around the house. I read Little House in the Highlands, a book on her daughter's shelf that I hadn't known existed before this trip, and loved every bit of. Must see if there is a Swedish translation, and must find all the other books written about Laura's ancestors and daughter—I grew up reading (and re-reading) the Laura Ingalls Little House books, and I have most of those in Swedish now (and have already read them all twice) but I had no idea all of these new ones existed.

In the afternoon we took a drive around the south side of the next big island to the south, the one with the Viking Museum in the middle of it, and then we took the main road up the central valley, past that museum. We didn't visit this time ([livejournal.com profile] lofd_kjar and I had been there two years ago when we visited Lofoten, before we met [livejournal.com profile] northernotter), but instead took a short hike up the ridge to the north west of it, where we had a lovely picnic. My phone battery can't be trusted, so I didn't take any photos, but [livejournal.com profile] northernotter got a decent photo me looking out the opposite direction from the museum (the sun was directly on the other side of the museum from us, so it wasn't a good time for photos that direction).

On Monday she had to work, so I went out for a walk just outside her door, and really enjoyed it. I wound up doing a 6 km loop, first across the main road an onto the trails (which are lighted ski trails in the winter), and then back onto the roads when I got to the school, heading back down to the coast (next to the Lofoten Museum, which I didn't visit, either), then along the coast and over the ridge back to her neighbourhood. There were, rarely, blueberries along my path, which I was "tvungen" to eat.

After my walk I finished reading another book that I hadn't really known existed. When I was a kid one of my favourite books was The Big Black Horse, but I had no idea that it was a (VERY) abridged version of a longer novel. Therefore you may understand my surprise and delight to discover a copy of The Black Stallion on her daughter's shelf—it took only a page to realize that it was the same story, even if there was So Much More in the way of detail (the boy has a full name! A back story!), and I happy settled into reading it. Much to my surprise, the book continues WAY past where it end in the version I had had (which stops with the rescue). I wonder how I missed the long version while growing up?

When [livejournal.com profile] northernotter got off of work her husband and I picked her up, and we three had time to sit and visit a bit longer at a café before they put me on the bus back to Narvik. While the bus to Lofoten is nicely coordinated with the train schedule, the reverse trip is not. I could have taken the morning bus, but it would have reached Narvik about an hour after the train departed. Therefore I took the afternoon bus and couch surfed in Narvik that night.

My host was a nice lady who worked on a knitting project whilst I did some nålbinding. She has a baby who had fun mimicking me during yoga, and, when I sat down on the floor for the floor poses crawled right into my lap for a hug. She laughed and said that is typical of her son—Stranger? Hug it! She needed to head to uni early on Tuesday morning, so I packed up my bags and walked down the hill to the train station, which was closed when I arrived at 08:00, never mind the sign on the door that said it is open from 07:00. So I still don't know if the rumours of luggage lockers existing at the station are true or not. Instead I took my bags with me and went to a hotel for breakfast.

I don't normally like to pay restaurant prices for food whilst traveling (especially since I am such a fussy eater), but I decided that it would be worth it in this case, and, indeed it was, since the let me put my bags into the locked room behind the front desk there, and then, after I had finished eating a large meal (since I knew I would be traveling all day), they said I was welcome to leave the bags there while I went out for walk. So I went into the city center and did some window shopping (most shops not yet being open for the day). Luckily for me, that was a "most", and not an "all", since I happened upon a yarn shop which was open.

I have a nålbinding project in progress that had been on hold due to having run out of yarn. I got the yard from a friend at an SCA event, and she got it from Gotland, where it was hand spun by the woman who owns the sheep it came from. When I was running low on that yarn I took the hat to the local yarn store in Luleå, and determined that none of the grays here was anywhere near matching it. So I cut a tiny length of the yarn and attached it to my keychain, in hopes I would find a better match elsewhere. Sure enough, the yarn shop in Narvik had something suitable. Not quite perfect—the commercial stuff is not as tightly spun, and there is a hint of difference in the colour, but I am not certain that the difference is going to show all that much, since I am working in Omani Stitch, which is really dense stitch. (So far I have had time to do only a few hours more of stitching on this with the new thread, which is not enough to do a full lap around the hat.)

After buying the yarn and some groceries for the trip I collected my luggage and went to the train station. By then it was 10:00, and there was a train sitting on the tracks. The sign on it said it was going to Luleå. So I asked the conductor if I could take this train instead of the one at 12:30 for which I had tickets. He said "yes, but this one can't leave till 13:00", and explained that there were issues with departure, and while this train had been scheduled to leave earlier than mine, it had been rescheduled.

Therefore I boarded the train and got out my sexy Viking cloak in progress, sat at a table and begun stitching. A couple of hours later the conductor came round to explain to us that the delay had been caused by a rock fall in a tunnel, and that they would be getting us a bus to Björkliden, the next train station beyond the rock fall, but they didn't yet know when that would arrive. A bit before 15:00 he came back and said that the bus should be here by 16:00—that they couldn't find any closer, so there was one coming from Kiruna for us.

A bit later I got a SMS from the train company saying that due to a rock fall the 12:30 train was being replaced by a 16:30 bus, which would depart from the train station and take us to Björkliden. I laughed because that was old news, and the departure time was rather later than the 16:00 the conductor had guessed.

Since I trusted the conductor better than I did the SMS I packed away my sewing a bit before 16:00, and was ready when the bus arrived. The trip to the next station took 1.5 hours, and then we settled onto a new train, and I got my sewing project back out. This train also had a school group, this time only 24 Swedish high school kids and their teachers (and a few parents). Two of the teachers sat across from me, and we chatted (largely in Swedish), for much of the ride home. One of the teachers is a handicrafts teacher at the school, and the other knows one of my SCA friends, so both were interested in my cloak in progress.

Thanks to all of the delays it was after midnight before we were home and so I did my yoga and went straight to sleep.

The week and weekend since have been fun and busy, but it is now 01:00, and I have things to do tomorrow, so that story will have to wait for another day.
kareina: (me)
Storman Vutbjörn

I have been preparing for this summer's NordanilLajv for months now--the two biggest projects were sewing my beard and building my man muscles.

The hair for the mustache came from my own head (collected from my comb or saved from going down the shower drain), but the beard is half (the lighter colour) from Paul, who grew his hair long (at my request) when he was my boyfriend, and then, years later he cut it off and sent it to me, since it was my idea for it to be long in the first place, and half from [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t, who already had long hair when we started dating, and who cut it off after we went our separate ways, and sent it to me.

The man muscles were made by making a linen under layer using the same techniques as for a Gothic fitted dress, except I inserted a zipper in the front center seam instead of lacing it. This took care of binding my breasts flat and supporting them. I then used a terrycloth towel for padding out my waist and adding shoulders. Finally I covered it all with an unbleached linen. The final step, which I can probably do while driving to the event this weekend, will be quilting in muscle lines. Not that anyone will ever notice the muscle lines while I am dressed, but there could be some occasion during the game where I take off my tunic in front of people, and if that happens I may as well show off nice, rippling muscles.
kareina: (stitched)
I was inspired to sew last weekend, and, sensibly, opted to finish a UFO before undertaking the new idea. The UFO in question )I think will be one of my favourite shirts.

Then, when that was done, I felt free to start a new project, and finally begun the cutting of my new wool Viking style tunic )
However, this week has been busy enough that I haven't made time for sewing on that project. Monday evening I was doing stuff on the computer. Tuesday was choir, and while I did sew whilst we sang (of course!), I opted for a tiny project--hemming some silk scrap into a set of three hair ribbons joined at one end, for braiding into my hair, which I completed shortly before choir ended.

As a side note--I am liking having silk hair ribbons for braiding into my hair--by making the silk longer than my hair I can braid them into my hair and keep braiding the silk even after the hair runs out, and then, when I reach the end I can take one of the three strands of ribbon and tie it in a simple overhand knot over the other two strands, which is plenty to keep the braid from unraveling, and I am not tying an elastic band around my hair at any point, so it is less likely to break. Another nice side effect is that I finally have that dark blue hair I wanted so much as a child, just by using blue silk--my braids are mostly brown at the top, with a hint of the blue ribbon showing through, and, as the braids lengthen they become gradually more and more blue as there are fewer and fewer strands of my hair that reach that length, till, at the bottom, it is all blue. It will be interesting to see if my hair gets a little longer doing this thanks to not breaking it off with pony tail holders.

and last night I started yet another new project )
So now I have two projects in progress, and one completed to replace the single UFO I managed to finish on Saturday...
kareina: (BSE garnet)
In theory I am on 1/4 time at work these days. In reality I am still working full time, just not getting paid for it, but progress is happening, and, with luck, I will eventually get far enough along to actually get some of that time off as well, off. In the past week I have met with my Master's student, and he has a plan (and he did an additional meeting with his supervisors at the mine today, so I am looking forward to hearing how that went), I have solved a problem my computer was having with the uni sync program (which, it turns out doesn't like encrypted files, though how that particular file became encrypted in the first place, I will never know, since it shouldn't have been, nor does it like really long path names, so now I know a way to use the command prompt to find every file name longer than a certain length, so I can change them), figured out a likely shape for the strain ellipsoid we should be using for the structural trend of our geological models, incorporated edits from my colleague to the paper, enrolled in the Swedish for Immigrants course which should start in February (and did all of the email exchanges to take care of that in Swedish!), and discovered, much to my delight, that once one creates a movie in Leapfrog any changes made to the interpolations can be added to the movie by simply pressing the "refresh scenes" button and then doing a new export (preferably with a new file name) to recreate the movie.

However, in addition to working, I am also sewing! Since the weather has been deliciously cold (between -20 and -30 C) I decided that it was finally time to make the fur muff that I have been meaning to make ever since I finished the fur lined hood last winter. Therefore I started cutting the fur on Friday, and managed to finish it on Sunday. Then I decided the strap needed to be a different length, so I cut it off today and re-finished it this evening. In total the project took me 11 hours and 22 minutes, but 2.5 of those hours was re-doing the strap length, so in theory, if I ever want to do one of these again I should be able to manage it in under 9 hours, unless I decide to decorate it with embroidery in addition to a tablet woven band for a strap.

muff

close up

The weaving for this strap was done by my friend in Trondheim--this is some of the loot I brought home from that geology conference in Lund. I am very pleased with how it came out.

With luck I will also get a photo of me wearing it, but that will be better done during the day, and outside, so you will have to wait until an opportunity presents itself.

And, having taken those photos off of the phone, I also have one of the slippers that I made at the conference. Well, mostly at the conference--they were nearly done on the flight home, but I ran out of yarn with 30 minutes to go in the flight, so I didn't finish them till the day after the conference.

slippers
kareina: (stitched)
Now that winter is, finally (thankfully!) here, and we are enjoying temps around -22 C (-8 F) most days I am finding that I had forgotten the layering lessons from last winter, no doubt, because I never wrote them down. Sure, I know that on warmish winter days I need only my normal full length wool winter coat, and that when it gets really cold I need more than that, but the exact definition of the transition between "warmish winter days" and "really cold" had been forgotten.

I knew that one solution to "really cold" I used last year was to put my huge down coat on over my backpack and normal wool coat (that coat has a pair of heavy over mittens threaded through the sleeves, for putting on over my normal nålbinded gloves). This has an advantage of keeping the water in the camelback pack from freezing, so I can continue to sip water now and then while I walk. I tried this on Thursday, and determined that -22 is NOT really cold, because I hadn't completed the first kilometer of my walk by the time I was sweating, and needed to take off the down coat. I didn't feel for carrying it in my hands, so I wrapped the arms around my neck, and left it to hang as a cloak, which was still too warm, but better than carrying it.

Today I took a shorter walk, but still long enough to determine that today's laying option was better. Today I had been wearing wool tights and a long skirt, so when I went out I pulled on my snow pants over the tights (but under the skirt), put on my normal wool coat, then my fur-lined hood (and linen coif under it, to keep the fur from tickling my neck), and then grabbed the fur sleeve from the same coat I used to make the hood. I pinned a tablet woven band to each end of the sleeve with a long loop between just the right length to hang the sleeve from my neck as a muff (fur side in) to keep my hands warm. This worked much better than the down coat+heavy mittens option of yesterday! for one thing, when I want to take my hands out of the muff to use them, I don't have the big mittens hanging at my wrists getting in the way.

However, I have determined that when I actually sew the fur sleeve into a wool lining to make a pretty muff I should use both sleeves (open them up and then sew them together into a wider tube) so that I can more easily put my arm well into the muff, including the sleeve of the coat. Just what I need, another project idea, as if I don't have plenty of them already...
kareina: (me)
On Saturday one of our friends (our folk dance teacher) had a 60th birthday party. Since she was born in the 1950's she decided on a 50's theme for the party, and nearly everyone went dressed in period-appropriate clothing, and a number of people went to the effort of doing their hair in 50's style too. I made a new skirt for the occasion. I have wanted a circle skirt for years, so I couldn't resist the excuse to actually do it. Monday evening I dug into our fabric stash and found a nice blue cotton fabric that looked useful. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar also had some blue and white fabric trim in two widths that looked nice with it, so I opted to use that, too. Monday evening I cut the fabric (four large wedges with one straight edge the selvage, the other straight edge 90 degree from there, with a curve cut for the waist, and another curve for the hem), sewed the wedges together, gathered them onto the waist band, and finished the waist band with two bits of the wider trim (one at the top of the waist, the other covering the seam between the waist and the skirt). That took about 2 hours and 40 minutes, and I wisely decided to put it down for the night, since it was already 23:00.

I didn't get another chance to touch it during the week. Tuesday evening was Choir, Wednesday evening we went to iaido and jodo practice. This is a martial art that he used to do very actively, but had gotten out of the habit of attending some time before I moved here, and he has been interested in getting back into it. I was the only new student, so while the others used most of the gym to practice the more advances stuff one of our friends pulled me aside to teach me the basics. He taught only in Swedish, but he is always careful to speak slowly and clearly, and I did just fine following him, and enjoyed the session enough that I want to return again this week (in fact, afterwards I even looked up the name of the 12 basic movements and the 12 katas used in jodo and set up a form in the logging app I use on my phone, so that when I go I need only tic the ones I did on a given week, rather than having to type in a list and thus remember the spelling). Thursday and Friday I did uni work well into the evening, so I didn't get another chance to sew till Saturday morning.

Therefore I got up fairly early on Saturday and cut out some nice large pockets (big enough to hold a paperback novel) and inset them into the side seams of the skirt. That took around two hours, by which time [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I could get him to mark the hem for me. Then I pinned the trim to that line and turned the sewing over to him to sew it to the fabric, while I baked some gluten free cookies to bring to the party. He also cut off the excess fabric and did the sewing of the bottom side of the trim to the bottom of the skirt, but I helped by sitting by him as he sewed and folding the cut edge of the fabric to the inside under the edge of the trim. That all took about 3 hours and 20 minutes, so total time elapsed for the skirt was six hours.

During the party there was, of course, dancing--first to 50's music on the stereo, and later in the evening to Swedish Folk music, since the birthday girl's husband and many of their friends are musicians who bring their violins and guitars to parties. I was very happy with my skirt for dancing--it is full enough that when I spin It gets out to completely horizontal (perhaps even a bit higher, it is tough to tell while being the one wearing it). I did, of course, wear a smaller skirt as a "petticoat", so I don't think my legs showed completely during the spins, but it was really fun to get that much movement from the skirt.

Sunday [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar drove down to the Skellefteå area so that he could help out his brother fix some stuff with the wiring in his new house. I brought along my work computer and got in several more hours of work while the boys did wiring and his wife kept their small son entertained. It was nice to see them, and to see how well they have managed to settle in since moving. They have a much nicer house than we to--I envy them the spacious kitchen. Granted, my current kitchen is so much bigger and nicer than the one I had when we were in the apartment that I shouldn't complain.

This will be another very busy week--things to do most evening, and way too much to do for work, and I need to prepare a presentation the following week for the group trip down to Boliden to present to the folk at the mine headquarters what I have accomplished during my research. The others at LTU who have also done collaboration with Boliden will also be presenting their work. It will be fun, but that is one day lost in writing a paper. (but the presentation will nicely form the basis of the one I need to do for a conference in January, so that will be nice).
kareina: (stitched)
Of course, that could be because I have been doing SCA for... more than 30 years now (is that number really possible?), and this is my first time trying "live-action-role-playing. We chose our character because one of the people in charge of the Calaquendi, the (race? tribe?) of elves that we have joined, expressed a desire to have more music and dance at their events, so [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar decided to be a musician, and I a dancer. Apparently many Lajv events the people wear costumes that are more or less the same as medieval fashions, and had we joined one of those groups we could have simply worn costumes we already have. But, as luck would have it, the fashion for the Calaquendi is very, very, different from Medieval clothing, so, as I mentioned last post, we have been doing a fair bit of sewing and other organizational stuff to get ready for this weekend's event. We are planning on bringing way less stuff than we do for a typical SCA camping event, and yet, it seems we are taking way more time to get ready for this one than I ever have for SCA camping.

He has just gone to pick up a rental trailer, since there are four of us driving out together and we need room in the car for bodies. When he gets here we will finish packing and loading up, then in the early afternoon we will drive out to the site (about an hour to get there, I think), set up the pavilion (which will be home to seven of us this weekend), then drive back to town for the first SCA dance practice held at the university here, which I am organizing, this evening, then head back out to site to sleep. In the morning we are meant to wake up "in character" and spend the weekend being someone else. My someone else isn't so different from me, in that she is a dancer, but she has elf-ears (which I will need to glue on), and is 1000s of years old (because the "old tongue" in game is represented by English, and the "common tongue" which is more widely used now days is represented by Swedish, so being old and from far away nicely explains why I am not so fluent in the common tongue as I am the older, more formal language).

Because the site has no electricity I intend to switch my phone to airplane mode in hopes that its battery will last long enough for me to keep my food log up to date over the weekend. If necessary I can switch to pen and paper, but, really, electronic is much simpler to deal with later. But this means I will have no internet for 3.5 days in a row. How will I cope?

Valborg

May. 1st, 2013 10:32 am
kareina: (stitched)
In Sweden, the first of May is a holiday—spring is a big deal in countries where they have real winter. However, Sweden, being Sweden, since the holiday is the 1st, they celebrate on the 30th of April (they do that at Christmas, too—with the parties and Christmas dinner all happening on Christmas Eve). So, how do they celebrate spring here? Bonfires! Lots of them (do an google image search for "valborg"). The official celebration at the university involves a huge bonfire—the stack of wood they had set up and ready to burn was way taller than I am. It also has an official entertainment program. Our choir (which is a “student” choir for the university, but one needn’t be a student to participate) was the opening act.

Therefore, after a busy day working from home on my part (and getting caught up on laundry in between doing stuff on the computer) we headed into Uni around 17:00 to join the rest of the choir in one last rehearsal and warm-up session, and just before 18:00 we went outside to perform. Had we done this last week it would have been sunny and warm (daytime temps of +10 C (~ 50 F) or so), but yesterday was rainy during the day, and overcast for the performance, with temps only just above freezing. Despite the less than ideal conditions we still had an audience that was larger than the choir (and since we are up to five to eight people per voice these days, our choir is a fairly decent size), and we all enjoyed it—it was fun to sing, and our friends in the crowd said we sounded good.

After our performance we hung around to chat with folks for a bit, and then we returned home with a couple of friends from choir. They have bikes, so they followed us (we had driven in, since we weren’t done with dinner till after it would have been time to start biking). I also wanted a bit of exercise, but didn’t think I could spare the full 45 minutes it would have taken to walk home, so instead I had him drop me off on the side of the road when we were most of the way home, and did a nice 14 minute walk, which got me there only a minute or two before our friends arrived.

Our left-hand neighbours had their bonfire going when we got home (the right hand neighbours had done theirs before we left to go to uni), so we four went out to join them for a bit. I am pleased to report that I was able to participate in conversations in Swedish, and only had to fall back on English words twice while hanging out with them.

Then we went inside and fed our guests some fika (in this case sandwhiches, fruit, nuts, banana muffins (which I had put in the freezer after baking them as the batch was too big to eat at once) and cookies (which I had baked a week or so back, but which keep well). Since we were sitting around the table chatting, I took that opportunity to make my version of hais, which uses a much lower proportion of bread crumbs than the original (but always home-baked bread for the source of the crumbs), and more different types of nuts and dried fruit in addition to the ones mentioned in the provided link. I also never roll mine in sugar—it is better without.

Neither girl had seen this sort of food before, and they happily helped with the grinding (I used an old fashioned hand-crank meat grinder, since our food processor is broken, and we don’t have a mortar and pestle large enough to make this.) and sampling of the finished product. After that we retired to the basement, where we watched a Monty Python movie I had never heard of before—Yellowbeard, and I made some good progress sewing on my new undertunic. (I am so looking forward to wearing this tunic—it is a very soft white linen woven in a herringbone twill pattern.)


Since I had had such a low energy day on Monday, but felt fairly good when I woke up on Tuesday, I opted to start that day with a quick run. The forest path is still not really a pleasant option, since the snow remaining on it gives it the texture of soft beach sand, but there are wet patches in addition. Therefore I opted to just run to the end of our road (which is a dirt road) and back—only 13 minutes, but since this was the second time I have run at all since autumn, I am ok with that. This morning I woke up thinking of projects, and nearly started my day with sewing. But, when I went to get dressed, I saw yesterday’s running clothes hanging on the hook, and that inspired me to do it again. Today I did it in 12 minutes. Granted, my phone log keeping app doesn’t do fractions of a minute, therefore I have no idea if the change in time from yesterday is 60 seconds, or not quite two minutes (since I don’t know if yesterday was 13 min, 59 seconds, or 13 min zero seconds, or something in between).

Since today is a holiday [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I will devote much of our day to projects, but right now "we" are filing my taxes (which are due by tomorrow). Which is to say he is dealing with the Swedish web form on his computer and I am providing moral support sitting next to him and keeping him company. That process is nearly done, so it is time to close this and get going with my day.
kareina: (Default)
I decided to inventory and organize our fabric this week. It only took two days to finish the task (NOT counting scrap fabric, of course, that didn't get inventoried or measured, though I have a good idea of what is there, and it is one fiber type per box). The totals are:

163 meters total, but some of the pieces are very narrow. This might be balanced by some of the others, which are very wide.

This breaks down to:

77 meters wool
45 meters Linen
5 meters Silk
37 meters cotton

Or, if you prefer to sort by colour:

75 meters blue (ranging from bluish grey through to midnight)
39 meters black
31 meters white, cream, "natural", and grey
12 meters of reds, maroons, and orangish red
6 meters of greens and yellows

Some of this fabric is downright decadent to touch, and we really should make time for sewing so as to use this stuff. Fabric is meant to sew, not be stored!

However, before we do that I should finish some of the projects in progress, the most urgent of which are:

* my sexy cloak
* my fur lined hood
* my new bliaut
kareina: (BSE garnet)
Last weekend was one of those "full-on" weekends that keep one too busy to even look at a computer, let alone check in with the world.

Friday, walking home from work with [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, he asked me what I planned to wear the next day at our Folk Dance performance. This is when I realized that I really should have made arrangements to borrow a skirt. Oops. However, this performance wasn't one of the major performances of our group, where we all wear the same matching costume with the skirt of hand-woven fabric patterned after one from the Luleå area in the 1800's (as seen in this costume I borrowed for last year's performances). Therefore, rather than doing last minute scrambling we looked into our fabric stash to see what we had that might work.

Some of the other ladies in the folk dance guild have plain grey wool skirts (in addition to, or instead of, the striped skirt in the above link). Therefore, of all of the wool we had in the house, the one that seemed best suited to making such a skirt was the heavy grey wool twill we picked up at Double Wars (which we had thought would make either some nice Viking trousers or perhaps a heavy tunic).

Friday night was also a visit from [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's eldest brother, his wife, and three young daughters. They have come up from southern Sweden for a visit to their parents in Piteå (about 45 minutes south of here), and since they were this close then had to come see us, too. So before we looked at fabric, and before the guests arrived, we mixed up a banana-nut bread and got it into the oven, and then started some cookie dough. (However, since the bread took a full hour to bake, we ran out of time, and just put the cookie dough into the fridge to bake later.)

We had a fun time visiting with his family that evening, and they didn't think it at all odd that after enjoying the banana-nut bread with them I got out fabric and started pleating it to a waist band. I made a couple of attempts at folding the fabric into even sized pleats using the twill stripes of the fabric as a guide, but soon gave up at trying to figure out which number of stripes would reduce two full widths of fabric to the size of my waist. Instead I took a sturdy linen thread, ran it through the edge of the fabric, and pulled to draw it in to the size of the waist band.

Once it was the correct length I pinned the waistband into place, and [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar stitched it down (this was just after his brother and company went back to their parent's house for the night). After the first side of the waist band was sewn down we realized that I had pinned it on such that if he sewed the second side with a machine it would show through to the outside, so I started sewing the second side of the waist band by hand, and he did the first pass of attaching a narrow woven band to the hem of the skirt. That band was then folded to the inside, and the far side of it hand-stitched down to keep the raw edge of the wool sealed, but not do a full rolled hem in fabric that thick.

The hand sewing on the waist took as long to do as the machine sewing of the hem, plus about 1/4 of the hand sewing of the hem. Once I got the waist done I joined him on the hand sewing of the hem, and we managed to finish the job by midnight. There is a photo of it over here

Saturday we got up nice and early, and went down to Piteå, where we spent all day at a fair. We did a few dance demos for the public, hung out near the Folk Federation's booth (and costume display), and even wandered a bit to see some of the other displays. Toward's the end of the day [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar finally got out his violin, which he had been carrying all day, and joined his fellow musicians in playing some tunes. When one of the other musicians took a break from playing I talked him into dancing with me, which was quite fun.

From there we went over to his parent's house (about a 5 minute drive from the fair grounds) to join the family for dinner. In addition to the eldest brother and his family visiting from down south, the youngest brother (who lives only another hour south of their parents) and his wife were there, so it was quite the party. It is probably a good thing that I didn't discover that the strawberries in the garden were ripe until after dinner. It would have been a shame to have missed out on all that good food just because I was too full of strawberries to eat any more. Ok, I admit it, even though I was quite full of berries already, when they brought out the cake covered with whipped cream and more strawberries, I did take a small piece. Yum!

Sunday morning we got up bright and early to drive down to Umeå (another 2.5 hours south of Piteå), where we helped our friend L with some of her packing, and loaded up our car with parts of her collection of fabric, yarn, scrap leather, and fur. The deal is that we will store it for her while she is in France for her PhD, and she can have back later whatever we don't use in the mean time. We are also borrowing/storing her bicycle. (This is a good thing--his last bike was stolen some time before I met him, and he has been doing without. But now that his work has moved to a new office only a 15 minute walk from home, it is good to have a bike to ride to work.)

In addition to helping her pack we also got to meet her mother, who was up visiting from Southern Sweden to help with packing and to take some of her other stuff home to store for her there. The four of us went for a long walk in the forest near her house, and ate wild blueberries. Yum!

We had so much fun visiting that we didn't get in the car for the drive home till 23:00, which meant we didn't get home till about 03:00. Gee, Monday morning sure felt early when that alarm went off. Despite the tired start to the work week, I have still managed to accomplish a fair bit, and it is only Wednesday. One task I have completed, a full week before the deadline to turn it in, is a talk about my research, to be presented at the Department's "Kick-off Retreat" later this month.

So, that was this past weekend's travel. Next weekend, on the other hand, is not going to have the travel we had expected. Due to delays in getting the paperwork we needed a group of us from work will not be going to Russia next week after all. However, [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar will be traveling. His work has been talking of sending him away to a training session "somewhere" in Europe the last week of August. However, at the last minute, they decided this week that instead of the last week in August it should be next week. Therefore he is flying to Scotland on Sunday and will return the following Friday. With luck he will get to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] sismith42 and [livejournal.com profile] loupblanc while he is there. He may also get to see [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t. If he does he will pick up the cloak I started for [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t years ago--a heavy blue wool that doesn't fray, to which I was tablet weaving on a very thin (two cards, two threads each) border. It would be nice to get that project back and finish it up. Not that I will touch it till I finish up my my own sexy cloak in progress.

(I don't recall if I have posted about that cloak here yet. The main fabric is a blue/grey wool twill, lightly felted. It is fully lined with a much lighter black wool twill, and the tablet woven band is bein attached such thar it shows on both sides, with the raw edges of the fabric turn to the inside. There will be a couple more rows of blue running stitch along the edge to hold it all together. Once I get the edge finished (I am getting there--two of the four sides are done, and the trim is attached to the blue on the other two sides, so only the black and the running embroidery stitching left to do) I will applique decoration to the central bit, and then I will be able to take out the basting stitches that hold the fabric together.

(Note: I found out the hard way that one really does have to baste the fabric together and sew each fabric layer to the trim one at a time (not counting the first seam--that one can be stitched through all three layers at once, inside out). If one tries to sew the whole thing inside out the two layers of fabric don't stretch the same amount, and when one turns them right side out again they don't lay smoothly. Learn from my mistakes!)

Since I am not going anywhere this weekend, I said yes to a couch surfing request. I couldn't resist, actually, the couple is from Slovakia and they are musicians traveling around Scandinavia playing music on street corners.
kareina: (Default)
A couple of years ago I visited the museums in Vienna with Racaire and got to see for myself the gorgeous blue tunic. Seeing the details of the sewing up close convinced me that it is missing a decorated over bit.

Today I was catching up on reading the 12th Century garb email list and saw a link there to one of her photos of a belt which is displayed in the same collection, and was reminded of the tunic. I don't remember if I mentioned my thoughts on the missing bit here before, or if it has only come up in conversation, but even if I did it might bear repeating, since I have links to specific photos ready to hand just now, and I know that some of my friends are interested in such things.

Why do I think it is missing something? Well, you can see in this photo that the neck slit isn't meant to be seen--the stitching along the neck slit is a coarse covering of the edge and no where near as pretty as even the other seams, and doesn't come close to comparing with the fancy establishments on the cuffs and hem (see neighbouring photos).

The other clue is the tunic in the next display case. As you can see, there is a rectangular beaded and embroidered section sitting over the neckline of the white tunic. If the blue one had such a thing that matched the cuffs and hem it would explain why the tunic itself is so plain on the neck, and why the quality/style of stitching is so different for the neck slit compared to the other seams.
kareina: (Default)
I would like to start this post with a formal complaint about the weather. I did not move this close to the Arctic Circle because I thought rain in winter was a good idea. Yet, here it is, 4 December, and instead of the half meter (or so) accumulation of snow we should have on the ground here not only do we have no snow at all, but it has been raining off an on all day. The sidewalks are covered in puddles full of water, and there is no sign of any of the water freezing any time soon. I was ready for winter and real snow back in September, but other than a light dusting of snow a couple of weeks ago (which vanished after being rained on two days later), we haven't had any.

However, my complaints about the weather being too warm is the only thing wrong with my life at the moment, so I guess it is all good. I have a great relationship, a great job, good friends, and way, way too many fun things to do with my time.

This weekend we had considered heading to Piteå for the folk festival there, which would have been fun, but we didn't make it, and instead filled our time with other fun things. One of the diversions was attending the holiday market in Gamelstad this weekend,where, much to my delight, we found some juusto. I happily bought two packages--one for this week, and another for the freezer (because if I didn't freeze it I would eat both of them this week, and I rather like being slender, so therefore I will save the other). Sure I could make it myself, but it takes time and a rather lot of milk to do so, so if they are going to sell it to me at a reasonable price I will just say "thank you".

After we left the market we stopped by a second hand store, where we picked up yet another project (as if I didn't already too many of them I am in the middle of). We got two fur coats (at a reasonable price) and have already taken them apart, One of them is almost certainly mink. I don't know what the other is--its fur is shorter, but it doesn't feel like rabbit. They are both brown, though the mink is a bit darker. Last night I attached the collar from the mink coat to the black wool coat that [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar made me, and tonight I started cutting the body of that coat into pieces which I will sew together to make myself a fur-lined hood. This will be good to have if winter ever arrives (though it looks like I will have plenty of time to finish the project the way the weather has been behaving). The second coat will be a hood for him (I get the warmer one, because I get cold easier). I plan to turn one of the sleeves into a fur-lined muff, and once I know which bits aren't needed for the hood I will do the cuffs of the black coat, too, since with the collar being fur the cuffs need to be as well.

So far I have cut out the two main rectangles for the hood and started sewing them together (a seam on the top if the head is necessary in order to have the fur pointing the same direction on both sides of the hood). Once that is attached I will mark the point where my neck meets my shoulder, and measure it to see how long the triangle insets need to be to sit just there. Then I can cut them out.

In addition I have taken apart the failed attempt at a sprang tights and have started that project over again. Hopefully this won't take too long, as I now have the project spread out across my living room. Granted, if I had spent the time I have been working on the coat entangling strings for the sprang project it would be closer to done now. So many projects, so little time! Ok, time to return to stitching...

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